As is always the case when I get a bit of free time, I begin to tackle the piles of work that consume the free space in my studio. I came across a pile of my early works, from the period of time I would credit as the most influential and productive. I would make work like there was nothing else to do in this world. I also participated a few extremely formative residencies and classes, so here they are and what I learned.
This was an afternoon offered to Higher Art students by the print department at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen to introduce us to the basics of intaglio printmaking. Having never really experimented with printmaking, I was blown away by the potential for experimentation it offered. I had brought a painting with me to work from, and set about carving, printing, editing and developing the print. In one life-changing afternoon, I learnt that I was completely in love with printmaking and vowed to 'do it more often'. Who was I to know just how important it would become...?
It was also on this afternoon that I learnt baby oil and baby wipes are just as effective as turpentine at removing fresh ink.
An exceptional weekend in Aberdeen Art Gallery - a room full of nervous Art School hopefuls intensely studying the face of Lindsay, our model. We were encouraged to respond 'in the style of a portrait' with a range of materials in order to capture something of our model. I began with a Conte and charcoal drawing, progressing to 6B pencil and pastel. The idea was to explore form, colour and essence as separate materials. On day two, I was let loose on the paint. I believe this was my second attempt at oil painting and you can see my struggle as I tried to treat it like acrylic. I remember being very frustrated that I couldn't work my colours as well and swore to never touch oil paint again...
I went to this class every week, determined to get better at drawing. I barely drew anything, always reverting to a paintbrush where possible. I stuck with charcoal, pencil and pastel for as long as I possibly could, until someone produced a load of oil paints and brushes. This was my first ever encounter with oils, on unprimed cartridge paper with a life model whom I had been drawing for weeks in front of me. Perfect.
For a week, my mum and I attended the Summer School at Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Each day, the group stood and drew the models for hours on end. We all took it very seriously. Our tutor insisted we explore different styles and methods of approach, switching up timings and intentions spontaneously and suggesting new materials at random. 'Leon' was one of the last works I made during this time, a very quick 'sketch' with oil bar on unprimed paper. I couldn't believe the feeling of drawing with a bar of paint. I have a feeling I will pick up this train of thought in the near future however...